It marked the second death of a young lifeguard at the Jersey Shore in a little over a week.
On Aug. 20, 16-year-old lifeguard Norman Inferrera III died a day after an accident in Cape May, on New Jersey’s southern tip. A lifeboat he was rowing was struck by a wave and flipped over, knocking him unconscious, authorities said.
The line-of-duty deaths were extremely unusual for lifeguards, according to Tom Gill, a spokesperson for the U.S. Lifesaving Association. He said the two New Jersey deaths in less than two weeks were just the second and third he can recall in the last 30 to 40 years.
“This just doesn’t happen,” Gill said. “For two fatalities in such a short time frame in the same general area, this is a tragedy beyond measure.”
Berkeley’s beaches are closed to swimming through Thursday as crisis counseling is made available to lifeguards and beach staff. People will be allowed to sit on the beach and sunbathe.
Police said an investigation is continuing.
Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC